Is Civil Disobedience ever Justified Biblically?

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Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
7,047
3,478
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#1
As an American conservative I often hear that the very creation of my country was in disobedience to God, a rebellious anarchistic event without divine authority to gain their freedom against a tyrannical government.

Well this question was asked and debated for years prior to the Revolution by the Founding fathers themselves.

Under the Framers' understanding of Romans 13, the American Revolution was not an act of anarchy or rebellion; rather it was an act of resistance to a government that violated the Biblical purposes for which God had ordained civil government. In fact, so cognizant were the Founders that they would account to God for what they had done and be justified in His eyes, that the flag of the Massachusetts Army proclaimed "An Appeal to God," and the flag of the Massachusetts Navy likewise declared "An Appeal to Heaven."

For more in depth understanding here is a good resource to read over.

https://www.beliefnet.com/news/2003/07/was-the-american-revolution-a-biblically-justified-act.aspx
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
19,351
10,633
113
#2
I'm currently reading a novel set in that period... presuming the novel is reasonably historically sound, the colonists certainly had good reason to resist the control of the British. Whether it was justified in God's sight is His to decide.

In general, civil disobedience must be considered very carefully, and undertaken when there aren't any peaceful options. It's undertaken far too lightly in many cases.
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
8,655
1,887
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#3
As an American conservative I often hear that the very creation of my country was in disobedience to God, a rebellious anarchistic event without divine authority to gain their freedom against a tyrannical government.

Well this question was asked and debated for years prior to the Revolution by the Founding fathers themselves.

Under the Framers' understanding of Romans 13, the American Revolution was not an act of anarchy or rebellion; rather it was an act of resistance to a government that violated the Biblical purposes for which God had ordained civil government. In fact, so cognizant were the Founders that they would account to God for what they had done and be justified in His eyes, that the flag of the Massachusetts Army proclaimed "An Appeal to God," and the flag of the Massachusetts Navy likewise declared "An Appeal to Heaven."
As another American conservative I'd like to remind everyone to obey your civil authorities so you don't end up in jail.

Christians are not called to armed revolution, we are called to preach the gospel and make disciples.

.
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
8,655
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#4
I'd also like to point out that the OP raised two ENTIRELY different questions, each of which has to be weighed individually.

A. Is any kind of civil disobedience ever okay under any circumstance?
B. Was the American revolution justified by biblical precept?

Those are two entirely different things.

.
 

Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
7,047
3,478
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#5
As another American conservative I'd like to remind everyone to obey your civil authorities so you don't end up in jail.

Christians are not called to armed revolution, we are called to preach the gospel and make disciples.

.
No one is advocating for a armed revolution. This is a historical reference explaining the thoughts of the 1700s Pastors and Founders.

If your civil authority tells you must worship them and not your God. What are you going to do? Many Christians have ended up in jail or death in disobedience to evil authority.

By preaching the gospel and acting out the Word can put you in jail.
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
8,655
1,887
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#6
No one is advocating for a armed revolution. This is a historical reference explaining the thoughts of the 1700s Pastors and Founders.

If your civil authority tells you must worship them and not your God. What are you going to do? Many Christians have ended up in jail or death in disobedience to evil authority.

By preaching the gospel and acting out the Word can put you in jail.
You're raising two completely different issues, and then juxtaposing them to give the impression of confluence.
I'm sure you're not doing this with any bad intentions.
So let's take a step back, and deal with one issue at a time.

Please pick one issue, and deal with it individually.
I listed A and B... please pick one, and we'll deal with it individually, on it's own merits.

.
 

Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
7,047
3,478
113
#7
I'm currently reading a novel set in that period... presuming the novel is reasonably historically sound, the colonists certainly had good reason to resist the control of the British. Whether it was justified in God's sight is His to decide.

In general, civil disobedience must be considered very carefully, and undertaken when there aren't any peaceful options. It's undertaken far too lightly in many cases.
Very true. The Colonists and churches debated it for decades on what to do. But when people started dying, their religious liberty was being taken, their homes was burned, supplies and taxes was being taken and then soldiers started to be housed in their homes, then the final act was the British began to try to take their weapons to make them defenseless.

The Founders also tried many times to go about peaceful negotiations but the King wasn't hearing it and things kept getting worse.

They viewed that loving your neighbor was also defending them from evil. As a God ordained right to life and this had to be protected.
 

Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
7,047
3,478
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#8
You're raising two completely different issues, and then juxtaposing them to give the impression of confluence.
I'm sure you're not doing this with any bad intentions.
So let's take a step back, and deal with one issue at a time.

Please pick one issue, and deal with it individually.
I listed A and B... please pick one, and we'll deal with it individually, on it's own merits.

.
I was asking the question to stir the readers mind. I didn't need the answer but only to provoke the mind.

I agreed with the article. And know that people really do not think of these issues or know the history. So I shared it. And thankful we have religious freedom here and hopefully for our future generations.
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
8,655
1,887
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#9
I was asking the question to stir the readers mind. I didn't need the answer but only to provoke the mind.

I agreed with the article. And know that people really do not think of these issues or know the history. So I shared it. And thankful we have religious freedom here and hopefully for our future generations.
I too hope we have religious freedoms here for future generations, and I too hope people will be stirred to think about these things.

But, in the simplest terms, Christians are not CALLED to have political freedoms and liberties... we are called to preach the gospel.
I hope our freedoms continue, and I hope people take them seriously, and take up ALL LEGAL MEANS to preserve them.
But ultimately, even if our freedoms fail... we are still called to preach the gospel and make disciples... and our true home is not here on earth.

The Moravians sold themselves into slavery, in order to reach slaves with the gospel.
They gave up ALL of their freedoms in order to serve Christ.
Serving Christ is NOT CONTINGENT upon our freedoms.
I am truly, in the deepest possible way, thankful for our freedoms here.
But our commission is not a political one, it is a spiritual one... we are called to preach the gospel of Christ, and make disciples.

My Brother,
I think we would both agree that we are teetering on the brink of losing these freedoms.
That's WHY we are both discussing them.

If my brothers should lose some of their political freedoms, I want them to think VERY CAREFULLY about what it means to serve Christ.
We should not confuse our political liberties with our spiritual mandates.

God Bless.

..
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
16,197
7,985
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#10
Christians are not called to armed revolution, we are called to preach the gospel and make disciples.
Civil disobedience -- by definition -- is not armed revolution but non-violent disobedience. As Peter said when there was a conflict between the will of God and the commandments of men, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (or words to that effect Acts 4:19,20). Which of course has consequences such as jail time or worse (Acts 5:18).

Mahatma Gandhi (who was not a Christian by any means yet accepted the teachings of Christ) used the principle of non-violent civil disobedience to oust the British from India, and succeeded. That included (a) disobedience to British laws, (b) prolonged fasts, and (c) jail time. Martin Luther King (actually a liberal minister) copied Gandhi.

As you say, we are called to preach the Gospel but when municipal, state, or federal governments seek to shut that down, then civil disobedience would be necessary.
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
8,655
1,887
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#11
As you say, we are called to preach the Gospel but when municipal, state, or federal governments seek to shut that down, then civil disobedience would be necessary.
Nehemiah,
I completely agree.

I also think that the only biblical type of civil disobedience would be to simply CONTINUE to peach the gospel, not to create an insurrection.

And so what happens if preaching ever becomes illegal?
Well, we just have to keep preaching, and then we go to jail for it... just like other good Christians all over the world.

If that's what comes, that's what comes.
I'm not fearless like the apostle Paul, and I have no desire to be a martyr.
But I have no control over the universe.

.
 

Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
7,047
3,478
113
#12
I too hope we have religious freedoms here for future generations, and I too hope people will be stirred to think about these things.

But, in the simplest terms, Christians are not CALLED to have political freedoms and liberties... we are called to preach the gospel.
I hope our freedoms continue, and I hope people take them seriously, and take up ALL LEGAL MEANS to preserve them.
But ultimately, even if our freedoms fail... we are still called to preach the gospel and make disciples... and our true home is not here on earth.

The Moravians sold themselves into slavery, in order to reach slaves with the gospel.
They gave up ALL of their freedoms in order to serve Christ.
Serving Christ is NOT CONTINGENT upon our freedoms.
I am truly, in the deepest possible way, thankful for our freedoms here.
But our commission is not a political one, it is a spiritual one... we are called to preach the gospel of Christ, and make disciples.

My Brother,
I think we would both agree that we are teetering on the brink of losing these freedoms.
That's WHY we are both discussing them.

If my brothers should lose some of their political freedoms, I want them to think VERY CAREFULLY about what it means to serve Christ.
We should not confuse our political liberties with our spiritual mandates.

God Bless.

..
I believe the early Colonists was justified in their defense of their loved ones, their homes, their land, and their freedom.

The British blamed the American Pastor for the war. The American Pastor was singled out by the British to be killed and many churches was burned to the ground. Some even had their members inside.

Many pastors fought in the war including many of the founders was Pastor's themselves. There is a time for everything under the sun and if you study all the miraculous events that happened and gave the rag tag Patriots the advantage over the Worlds largest army and navy. It had to be only God's hand on them people and they knew it.

http://reclaimamericaforchrist.org/2010/12/20/the-black-robed-regiment-preachers-who-fought/

What are your thoughts on the second Amendment?
 

Adstar

Senior Member
Jul 24, 2016
6,674
3,055
113
#13
A .. Civil disobedience is justified when an earthly Authority tries to enforce an anti-christ Law.. Example when a government sets up a pagan idol and demands people worship it..

B.. The US revolution was a revolution that had more to do with anger about paying taxes to the British government.. I have not seen any justification that would be Biblical for that revolution.. Being highly taxed is not justification to rebel against a worldly authority using violence..
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
8,655
1,887
113
#14
I believe the early Colonists was justified in their defense of their loved ones, their homes, their land, and their freedom.

The British blamed the American Pastor for the war. The American Pastor was singled out by the British to be killed and many churches was burned to the ground. Some even had their members inside.

Many pastors fought in the war including many of the founders was Pastor's themselves. There is a time for everything under the sun and if you study all the miraculous events that happened and gave the rag tag Patriots the advantage over the Worlds largest army and navy. It had to be only God's hand on them people and they knew it.

http://reclaimamericaforchrist.org/2010/12/20/the-black-robed-regiment-preachers-who-fought/

What are your thoughts on the second Amendment?
My thoughts on the 2nd Amendment?

I think your ability to HAVE a weapon is quite independent of what you choose to DO with it.
:)

Very interesting thread.
I'll jump in again when I have some more time.

.
 

maxwel

Senior Member
Apr 18, 2013
8,655
1,887
113
#15
NOTE:

In post #11 I said we are mandated to "peach" the gospel.

Uhh... I think I'm going to take a break... before someone accuses me of being a false "peacher."

.
 

Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
7,047
3,478
113
#16
My thoughts on the 2nd Amendment?

I think your ability to HAVE a weapon is quite independent of what you choose to DO with it.
:)

Very interesting thread.
I'll jump in again when I have some more time.

.
2nd Amendment states.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The only way to understand anything in these documents is go to the original writings of the people who wrote, debated and passed the documents.

What was a militia?

“I ask who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers.” – George Mason, Address to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, June 4, 1788

“A militia when properly formed are in fact the people themselves…and include, according to the past and general usuage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms… “To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” – Richard Henry Lee, Federal Farmer No. 18, January 25, 1788

The right of the people to keep and bear arms:


“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” – Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776

The 2nd amendment included in the Bill of Rights was the addition of the unalienable rights or God given right to self defense on the idea that life is sacred and should be protected from all evil.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

Consider the basic principles expressed in that simple statement:

1. Humans are created by God;2. They are all equal;3. God grants them certain rights which cannot be abridged;4. They include the right to life and liberty; and5. Governments are instituted to protect God-given rights.

The next few lines in the Declaration of independence explain that when the sanctity of life, liberty, and property is in a long train or time span of abuses and illegal infringements then the people must act to defend peoples God given rights.

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies;


Now that I have defined the second amendment and the mindset behind it then I ask you another question.

Do you still support the second Amendment as a Christian?
 

Roughsoul1991

Senior Member
Sep 17, 2016
7,047
3,478
113
#17
Also just for some more background info on the great pastor George Whitfield who almost single handedly brought in the first Great Awakening in the British American colonies and how that majorly influenced the thoughts behind the Founders and the colonies.

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/016909.html
 

Mission21

Pathfinder
Mar 12, 2019
548
571
93
#18
Also just for some more background info on the great pastor George Whitfield who almost single handedly brought in the first Great Awakening in the British American colonies and how that majorly influenced the thoughts behind the Founders and the colonies.

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/016909.html
Interesting comment/perspective..
---
I read about that perspective/view from different historical sources.
- Great awakening and Revolution.
 

TM19782017

Active member
Dec 15, 2018
251
152
43
#19
As another American conservative I'd like to remind everyone to obey your civil authorities so you don't end up in jail.

Christians are not called to armed revolution, we are called to preach the gospel and make disciples.

.
“Obey civil authorities “ ?

They are not saying what TO DO......They only set rules saying what I CANNOT do.

Setting a million laws stating what not to do, will still always need your own thinking to arrive at making a move and actually DOING something.
 

ArtsieSteph

Senior Member
Apr 1, 2014
6,194
1,313
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Arizona
#20
I think of Jesus throwing out the shop guys in the synagogue. I mean He made a literal WHIP. So I think there are times it's ok. Or like Martin Luther King's peaceful protests.